Emily Tan Byravee Iyer
Feb 6, 2015

Media Talk: Video sparks the battle for brand dollars

Even as research finds that Facebook videos provoke more sharing than those on YouTube, experts from Socialbakers and VML Qais ask why marketers would want to exclude either platform.

Simon Trilsbach (left) and Giles Henderson
Simon Trilsbach (left) and Giles Henderson

According data released yesterday by Unruly Media about Super Bowl ads posted online, ads on YouTube receive more views, but videos on Facebook get shared more.

The analysis showed that Super Bowl ads on YouTube generated double the views of Facebook. However this finding is skewed by the fact that 97 per cent of the ads aired during Super Bowl Sunday ran on YouTube but only 62.7 per cent were run through the Facebook Player.

Despite this discrepancy, ads run through Facebook attracted 70 per cent of the total shares generated by the Super Bowl ads online. When campaigns run on both YouTube and Facebook were compared, the versions on Facebook generated five times more shares than on YouTube. 

This, says Unruly, is likely because Facebook is a social network while YouTube is by and large, a search engine. It also takes fewer clicks to share a video on Facebook. 

While Unruly argues that shares are more important than views as a measure of a brand's viral success, by and large the experts featured in our Q&A below feel that neither channel should be left out. 



  • Simon Trilsbach, vice-president, Socialbakers
  • Giles Henderson, director, media & channels, VML Qais

Which platform do you prefer? Why?  

  • Trilsbach: Facebook is the primary referral channel to YouTube and controls much of the traffic YouTube receives. The expansion of Facebook video means that Facebook is taking much of that traffic and keeping those eyes on Facebook platforms.
  • Henderson: I don’t think any media professional in their right mind should ever say that they prefer one platform over another. It really does depend on the campaign requirements at the time. 

What does Facebook have over YouTube? 

  • TrilsbachFacebook’s precise targeting enables advertisers to move people through the funnel. Facebook has no problem receiving video adoption on mobile as well, as Facebook finds around 85 per cent of its video views come from mobile devices.
  • Henderson: Facebook has some much better targeting options in comparison to YouTube when it comes to video advertising. They have opened up a great deal more audience targeting potential, especially within the confines of Facebook itself.  

Should brands abandon one for another? 

  • TrilsbachFacebook video’s strength is in facilitating video discovery — Facebook has a massive reach and allows for precise targeting. YouTube, on the other hand, works as a great repository for video, as a base for longer-term storage and video archives.
  • HendersonNever.

What are the challenges with Facebook video? 

  • TrilsbachBrands would benefit from creating videos that can be engaging even when played silently, without audio. Another challenge for brands is learning how to effectively incorporate video into creative campaigns and brand objectives.
  • Henderson: Knowing how to use the platform itself is key. It’s pretty simple to get your head around the basics, but some of the more advanced targeting capabilities, the use of Power Editor or a good PMD allow you to do much more on Facebook in the long term.

Who wins the reach-versus-engagement debate? 

  • TrilsbachFacebook is without question the leader when it comes to reach. 
  • Henderson: I really wouldn’t commit to saying one or the other. They are both extremely powerful video advertising tools.

With both ramping up, what will be the game-changer? 

  • TrilsbachThe game-changer will be the platform that best leverages shareability, user engagement and mobile.
  • Henderson: Video retargeting on Facebook is a good start. Being able to identify users who have watched your whole video and then target with a more detailed message is a very strong offering.


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